I'll never forget the first one we sat through as a couple, over-the-moon excited to gain enough information to begin our journey. (2007)
Then the following year, we went to another one while in process to adopt two specific older children we'd met through a hosting program. (2008)
The year after that, we grieved. (2009-2010) And we kept to ourselves for quite some time, processing the unexpected turn of events in our journey. We completely withdrew from the adoption ministry. Period.
Once we met Julian, everything changed. Our hearts broke for the older orphan, the ones starting life on their own without a family. Rather than hiding our story and covering our heads in shame and embarrassment, we wanted to share it with anyone and everyone. Not just our story, but Julian's story, too.
Yesterday Mike took on the responsibility to transport the boys back and forth between their soccer games and their D-Now weekend activities with church so I could spend the day in Rockwall at the adoption conference. For the first time, I welcomed all the post-adoption information.
I loved the breakout session called Adopting the Older Child, where I heard both Julian and Juan David's voices through the speakers' words. They talked about their own experience adopting a 15 year old boy, and then they gave the daunting statistics about the ones who never get adopted. What a privilege to now encourage others to prayerfully consider adopting an older child, just as we had done.
I'm so thankful for a church with such a big heart for adoption and a passion for foster and orphan care. What a great resource to have at your fingertips, no matter what stage of the adoption journey you find yourself in.
(I wish I'd gotten better pics. I took a few of Jason Castro while he sang, but they didn't turn out very well. Here's one I stole from the Adoption Ministry's Facebook page. :))